Intrigued by the blockchain technology buzz? Here’s what you need to start a career in crypto.
First things first: What is crypto?
Cryptocurrency is a digital currency that uses a specialized computer code called cryptography to secure transactions.
It’s built on blockchain technology, which is a public ledger that anyone can access. This means there’s no need for a third party like a bank to verify the transactions, which decentralizes the process.
Cryptocurrency exists solely on the internet—no physical bills or coins—and you can use it to buy certain items or trade online. Unlike traditional currency issued by a central bank, crypto is formed by mining. This is the process of solving complex math problems using highly advanced computer equipment.
Bitcoin was the first cryptocurrency in 2009. Since then, there have been thousands of cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Tether, and Litecoin. Ethereum is one of the most popular platforms that uses smart contract, which executes the terms of an agreement like a traditional contract except it runs on the blockchain.
What are the career opportunities in the crypto industry?
Crypto is a rapidly growing industry around the world, with Asia leading the share of global value from July 2020 to June 2021. More than 600 crypto or blockchain companies have set up shop in Southeast Asia specifically, according to a 2022 report.
This indicates that there are many job opportunities in the cryptocurrency industry. Here are some you can look into:
- Blockchain developer: Responsible for the coding that makes a crypto company’s world go round; uses programming languages like Python, Solidity, and Ruby
- Financial analyst: Gathers and evaluates financial data, monitors market trends, and recommends investments
- Marketing manager: In charge of customer marketing strategies and community building
- Product manager: Oversees product development and works with the blockchain developer and marketing team to meet customers’ needs
- Business developer: Works in sales and pursues partnership deals to grow the business
- Technical writer: Writes informational or technical copy for brochures, manuals, and journals
So how do you start?
Crypto is a fast-moving industry so there’s something new to learn every day, even for pros. As a beginner, you can start by learning the basics online, following crypto market news, and joining communities on Twitter, Discord, Reddit, and Telegram.
At OWN Academy, you can get a taste of the crypto and financial technology industry straight from the experts. Our Industry Coaches include Angel Chia, CEO at SingAlliance (Hong Kong) Limited, a leading wealth management company. “We give students real-life practical information so they can really understand what it is that people do in the financial industry.”
At one of our events, students got to try their hand at mock investing in crypto under the guidance of professional experts. They saw firsthand how the market works and got a glimpse of the day-to-day price volatility.
Samuel, one of the students, found the experience quite enlightening. His goal is to make an ICO or Initial Coin Offering, which is a fundraiser for crypto products and services. It has similarities with IPO or Initial Public Offering, an established process in which a private company sells shares of stock to the public for the first time. “Basically, I want to build a coin and to invest in new coins in the future. I want to invest in these ideas and change the world.”
For their summary project, students created their own NFTs or Non-Fungible Tokens. While both NFTs and cryptocurrency are built on blockchain technology, NFTs are unique and not interchangeable. Think of NFTs as digital collectibles like photos and videos that are certified authentic by blockchain tech. Cryptocurrency is used to buy NFTs, much like how physical money is used to buy tangible collectibles.
Melody, one of the students, said, “It’s been really exciting and informative to learn about cryptocurrency, NFTs, and how to buy and invest in this space.”
These topics are not typically found in the school curriculum, so educators see the high value in these real world experiences. “Students get a more authentic and contemporary understanding of the inner workings within the industry,” said John Lee, Teacher of Economics and Business Management. “It adds a bit more flavor to the students’ understanding of business and economics in general.”
What qualifications do you need to get a crypto job?
A bachelor’s degree in computer science, software engineering, or related fields is typically required in most job positions. It’s especially important if you want to move up the ranks. Colleges and universities around the world are starting to offer certificate programs and courses on blockchain, cryptocurrency, and financial technology.
Some crypto jobs don’t require a bachelor’s degree, which you could use to get one foot in the door while you’re still studying. Some examples are Community Managers, Social Media Marketers, Support Specialists, and Content Creators.
That said, whether you have a bachelor’s degree or not, you’ll need to have the technical skills relevant to your career path and the soft skills to keep up in the industry.
What’s the secret sauce to moving forward in the crypto industry?
In this high-speed space, you’ll need to have the hunger and humility to be a lifelong learner. There’s always a new trend or development to explore. You can apply this learner mindset to find creative solutions when challenges come up.
Similar to other industries, working in crypto means working with a team. The size of the team may depend on the crypto company, but you still need to learn to work with others well.
It’s likely that you’ll be working with teammates from around the world virtually. Building a rapport online isn’t as easy as developing team spirit in one physical space, so it’s important to work on your communication skills.
These are some of the soft skills that will help you land a job in the crypto industry and move up to leadership positions in the future. Keep pursuing real-world experiences when you save a slot for an upcoming Office Hour virtual thought leadership session, exclusively available when you sign up for an OWN Membership.
Want to learn more about crypto and other modern industries?
Sign up for Office Hour, our online thought leadership series where you can get exclusive access to relevant case studies, gain tacit knowledge by solving real-world problems, and receive live feedback from industry experts.